This is unmistakably not my favourite book by Liane Moriarty. My favourite's are Truly Madly Guilty and Big Little Lies. They're actually a couple of books I highly recommend because they're addictive, compulsive and fiendishly clever. To be completely honest, I kind of hated Nine Perfect Strangers at times, and on the other hand I also loved it. The plot gave me severe anxiety, and spoke to my deepest fears (hello claustrophobia!). Nevertheless, Moriarty effortlessly shares from 10 or 11 points of view, and although I couldn't relate to any of the characters who happened upon Tranquillum House for self-improvement, I did root for one specific family, and they are the sole reason I finished this book. All of the reviews I've read from fellow book bloggers were remarkably positive, raving, giving 5 stars, and stating this is 'her best yet,' so I am apparently in the minority. It's definitely a wild ride, it just wasn't as entertaining as I'd hoped.
It is super rare for me to give a psychological thriller 4.5 stars, but this one was incredible, and I devoured it in one sitting. This one is a one-more-chapter-will-be-late-for-work, stay-up-all night experience. Electrifying, heart-stopping, and it gave me all the chills! You really ask yourself the whole time, "What would I do if this was my child?" This super twisty thriller had all my boxes ticked - terrifying child character, secrets, lies, and suspense. I really hope this one graces the big screen. I did not see the ending coming, and thoroughly enjoyed the different POV's. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to read this one!
Description from Goodreads:
When Clara's boyfriend, Luke, disappears, everyone believes that he's left her, but Clara thinks she knows the truth. Recent evidence suggests that Luke had a stalker, and Clara worries that he's been kidnapped. Then Luke's older sister, Emma, who vanished twenty years ago, suddenly reappears.
Emma wants to help Clara with her search for Luke, but she refuses to talk about what happened--even though it nearly destroyed her family when she vanished. And the deeper Clara digs into Luke's mysterious disappearance, the more convinced she is that the two incidents are connected.
Last summer I read The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle and fell in love with her writing style, reminiscent of Lifetime movies that are surprisingly good. Three Days Missing is her newest book, which is part of the July line-up for Booksparks Summer Reading Challenge 2018 (#SRC2018). I really enjoyed the premise of this book about a child who goes missing on a school overnight field trip, and two mothers' lives that collide as they search for the missing boy. Lots of twists and turns, suspicious characters, and a plot that didn't run dry. I love books that hook you from the first page, and Belle has a way of reeling you in with her strong female characters and exposition. Her novels include all the necessities of a successful thriller: rising action. crises, and a powerful resolution. The perfect summer read!
I really enjoyed Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman. Sometimes I go into a book without reading the synopsis, and this is one of those examples. With a quick glimpse at the back reviews by B.A. Paris, Riley Sager and Amy Engel (all favorites’), I had a feeling this was a psychological thriller, but had no expectations going into it. I really loved the premise and found it unexpected and unique. I don’t want to say too much in fear of giving away the mystery at the heart of the novel…which is what is ‘in the water?’ I will say that it took me about 100 pages to feel really invested in this story, but the build-up and character development is important to the narrative. As many of you know, I absolutely love morality tales, and this one is the perfect mix of bad decisions and thought-provoking scenarios. The perfect summer/beach read.
Robyn Harding has quickly become one of my favourite authors...and she's from Vancouver! I read The Party last year, and the Advanced Reader Copy of Her Pretty Face in March. This new book releases on July 10th and is on my list of Most Anticipated Summer Reads, and is part of the 2018 Summer Reading Challenge with BookSparks. Her books are suspenseful, shocking and raw, grabbing the reader from the first page and not letting go until the shocking conclusion. Her Pretty Face explores reinvention, grief, and retribution, leaving you wondering if people can truly change. She has also written four works of humorous women’s fiction, a YA novel, and a comedic memoir with an environmental focus. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband, two kids, and a seven-pound, toothless dog named Ozzie. With my very first Q&A, thank you Robyn for participating!
A few questions about writing:
1) What is your writing process like?
When I start a novel, I create a loose outline. I was a screenwriter for several years and it taught me a lot about structure. I find that writing toward the next major plot point keeps me from getting lost or overwhelmed by the story. I also create character profiles before I start writing, giving them a backstory that may or may not make it into the book. Knowing the characters inside and out, really helps inform their behaviors and actions.
2) What advice do you have for writers?
Write, write, write. I recently saw David Sedaris speak, and he said he wrote for seven years before he showed anyone his work. It took him that long to be good enough! The other advice I’d offer is to enjoy writing for writing’s sake. I’m incredibly grateful to be published, but once writing becomes a business, it’s a different experience.
3) What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I love how supportive authors are of one another! I’ve made so many incredible connections to authors all over the world, mostly through social media or e-mail. I recently had dinner with Lisa Genova here in Vancouver and she inspired me to dream big and to go for it! I have regular lunches with YA writer Eileen Cook who is very smart about the business side of writing and gives great advice. And fellow thriller writers Roz Nay and Chevy Stevens have offered great insight into the genre. All these women are also hilarious!
4) I loved Her Pretty Face. What did you edit out of this book?
Thank you so much! I did a HUGE edit after the first draft. Originally, I had a documentary filmmaker following the women around, and it was he who revealed which of the women had the murderous past. My editor felt that this storyline distracted from the meat of the story, and I had to agree. It was a big re-write but it was worth it.
5) If Her Pretty Face graced the big screen, who do you see cast in the main leads? (Frances and Kate)
I’d like to see Amy Adams as Frances and Charlize Theron as Kate!
Some book-ish questions:
6) What is the first book that made you cry?
7) How has the bookstagram community impacted you?
I love the bookstagrammers I have connected with (including you)! It is such a fun and supportive environment. Every day, I learn about new books and see amazing photos. And I am in awe of how fast you all read!
8) An upcoming release you're most looking forward to?
I am so behind! I still need to read last summer’s new releases. But I’ve seen a lot of buzz about “Baby Teeth”. It sounds original and creepy-good!
He did it again! An atmospheric thriller that keeps you guessing until the very last page. This one includes all of my favourites: Unreliable narrator, family secrets, red herrings, gothic undertones and a complex plot, filled with psychological suspense. This is the perfect summer read!
The Last Time I Lied is one of those stay up all night and read no matter how early you have to get up in the morning for work. I was lost in the pages of this haunting story that spans generations. As we learned from Final Girls, Forests + Riley Sager = a terrifying experience.
Releases in July.
Thank you @duttonbooks and @riley.sager.
Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she--or anyone--saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.
Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings--massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.
Yet it's immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp's twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.
And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.
I am a HUGE fan of Mary Kubica. I have a copy of all of her books, and was so excited to receive an ARC from @netgalley and @harlequinbooks. I was immediately invested in When The Lights Go Out. I really enjoyed Pretty Baby, which came out in 2015, and this story follows the same theme of motherhood. I loved the plot, and the unreliable narrator, which provided the same riveting suspense and stress that The Woman in the Window and Girl on the Train provided. The storyline was amazing, with alternating POV’s which kept me furiously flipping pages well into the night, trying to uncover the “bizarre case of stolen identity.” When I finally got to the ‘twist’ I was really disappointed, and actually flipped back to re-read because I was so surprised and unsure if I read incorrectly. I felt that my questions were never answered and wish the ending had gone in a different direction. I’ve read some very positive reviews with 5 stars, so maybe I am in the minority here. Excited to see what the bookstagram community thinks!
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A woman is plunged into a bizarre case of stolen identity in this ambitious and riveting thriller by the blockbuster bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica
Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that forces her to question everything she’s ever known.
Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.
Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key.
I just finished Bone Music, and my initial thoughts are 'Wow, this has all the makings of a great Netflix series!' This book is the backstory of Charlotte Rowe, which reminds me of why Marvel is so successful. A thriller that is both vivid, intelligent, and intensely moving, with a strong female protagonist. There is LOTS going on, and I don't want to give anything away. The book synopsis really doesn't do this book justice. Superhero, meets vigilante, with a mix of sci-fi, murder mystery, and the supernatural. It's LONG. I'm talking 450 plus pages long, and at first it deterred me from starting this. But with many hours to spare yesterday and today due to an unexpected knee injury, I was able to finish it in a few sittings. When I first saw the cover of this book, the title threw me off. But after getting half way you understand that the title refers to the symptoms of a powerful drug - "the shaking hands, the throbbing in her bones." What I loved most about this book, was the reason the drug was created in the first place - to wipe out sexual sadism. rape, and domestic violence. A unique approach to the thriller genre. It will not disappoint!
“Her Pretty Face” – Whose pretty face you may ask? I wrestled with this question throughout the novel, with many red herrings strategically placed throughout to throw me for a loop.
I absolutely loved this domestic suspense novel, and finished it in two days. Shocking, violent, and raw, this book grabs the reader and doesn’t let go.
This novel explores reinvention, grief, and retribution, and leaves you wondering if people can truly change.
This title releases in Canada on July 10, 2018!
Thank you so much @robynharding and Rebecca from @simonschusterca for sending me this ARC.
Jar of Hearts claims to “grab you by the throat,” and that’s exactly what it did. A sophisticated, and chilling psychological thriller, with a mix of Orange is the new Black, Gillian Flynn and Karin Slaughter. This book is spectacular and I devoured it one day. Split into 5 parts, with different narrations, this book will have you reading well into the night.
What I loved most about this book was the author's ability to have you sympathize and hate Geo simultaneously. Are we the product of our parents? And I don't mean that in a purely biological sense either. The cycle of abuse is real, and violence is often passed from one generation to the next. I remember discussing this with a colleague years ago, when she brought up an article about generations of violence and the cycle of child abuse. She fully believed that as a child of abuse, she was statistically likely to pass this on to her children, and because of her traumatic childhood, decided to not have children. What a tragedy. This story affected me both emotionally and psychologically. It also leaves you to reflect on how emotions influence our decision-making.
Jar of Hearts will definitely be a buzz-worthy book when it releases in Canada on June 12. Make sure that you pre-order. This will be an incredible summer read.
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster” – Friedrich Nietzsche.
I will warn you that this book is heavy! It has dark subject matter, with explicit details.
I received this ARC from NetGalley and St. Martins Press - Thank you!
Photographing books, one day at a time.